Follow by Email

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Queen Camel, Somerset: "News did not travel fast in those days" (Walter Raymond); Camel Folk; Somerset and Her Folk Movement; Folk Song in Somerset; Down-Along Talks, Dan'l Grainger

From "Gentleman Upcott's Daughter", 1892.

More here

"The song has departed from the hearth and the sweep of the scythe from the meadow...the school slowly undermined the dialect...More potent than book-learning in the hastening of this recent evolution in English country life has been, I think, the introduction of rapid locomotion...The railways diminished many limitations. In coaching days, for all but the very rich, life even in towns was terribly circumscribed. The stay-at-home habits of the humble villager now seem almost incredible...Quite early in their history some railways began to advertise short summer excursions. 'A day by the sea'...Flushed with excitement, and all the maidens wi' a tutty o' boy's love and roses a-piece, they all rod in un from Yeovil Town to Weymouth Bay and back".

From "Somerset and Her Folk Movement", Walter Raymond, July 1921.

And then the young people discovered a world beyond the parish. They went to London, left the village for the town, the county for the city...

Compare Walter Raymond with Charles Marson:

From introduction (C.L.M.) to Folk Songs from Somerset, First Series, 1904, by Cecil J. Sharp and Charles L. Marson (The Rev. Charles Marson, Vicar of Hambridge):

"Folk-song, unknown in the drawing-room, hunted out of the school, chased by the chapel deacons, derided by the middle classes, and despised by those who have been uneducated into the three R's, takes refuge in the fastnesses of tap-rooms and the wilder parts. It is a treasure to be sought and found in nooks and corners, underneath much mental and some moral lumber. It comes out shyly, late at night, and is heard when the gentry have gone home to bed, when the barrack-room has exhausted its Music-hall menu. It is to be found when men have well drunk. The parson hears of it, but rarely hears it. Domesticated and holy Penelope does not sing it at her loom...You must ask our Arcadian Aspasias if you want to get news of it".

The Rev. Herbert Pontin, "Old Dorset Songs" (1906):

"Of course, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the old traditional songs are fast dying out. Boys educated at a National School think it almost beneath their dignity to sing the ungrammatical, unrhythmical and unpoetical songs in which their fathers and forefathers delighted".

From 'The Passage of Camel' in "Cluster-o'Vive, Stories and Studies of Old World Wessex"
by John Read (1923):

"There is an old-time atmosphere about the Camels: they are among the nooks, yet to be found in Somerset, which the influences of modern civilisation have but slightly touched. In such places the hand of Time has lingered lovingly, and, caressing, lagged behind".

The waggon, on the way to the Mildmay Arms:

"The waggon passed into the semi-darkness of the overhanging canopy of hazel bushes which lined the steep banks of the batch. Crack! A loud retort of the long-handled whip echoed through the hollow way, followed by a burst of the melodious old waggoning song:

"When vust I went a-waggoning,
A-waggoning did go,
I villed my parents' hearts with grief,
Wi' sorrow, care and woe..."


"and many are the hardships,
Since then I have gone thro-o-o......"

Photograph from "More Down-Along Talks"

From "Down Whoame", "Barney Hodger", 1924

Visiting London, from Down-Along Talks by "Dan'l Grainger" (David J. Gass)

No comments:

Post a Comment